Winton: Sunday race report

Holden's Cameron McConville swooped at the penultimate corner to claim his first V8 Supercar Championship Series victory as one of the most dramatic races in history finished in a wave of controversy at Winton today. McConville swung...

Holden's Cameron McConville swooped at the penultimate corner to claim his first V8 Supercar Championship Series victory as one of the most dramatic races in history finished in a wave of controversy at Winton today.

McConville swung underneath then leader Rick Kelly on the second last corner of the race that included numerous red flags, included current champion Marcos Ambrose shunted off the track and five-time winner Mark Skaife getting bogged in the mud.

Kelly immediately fired in a verbal protest that McConville had passed him while yellow flags were out, a claim that was discounted by the ultimate winner and then the stewards who looked into the circumstances.

Amidst all of this and the drama of the race Jason Bright (1131), who held on for third today, claimed the championship lead with Ambrose (1106) slipping back to fourth courtesy of his 26th today. Steven Richards (1126) is second with Kelly (1116) third.

McConville put the dramas behind him with his first race victory. His best result had been second at Bathurst with his team-mate Garth Tander last year.

"In my position there was a hole and I took it," McConville said.

"As far as I am concerned I waited for the green flag to come out and I didn't pass until I saw that green flag. Rick wasn't covering the line close enough at the time."

McConville managed to sneak underneath the mass carnage that happened in front and behind his at various stages through the race. Greg Murphy had looked comfortable in the lead until the 86th of 100 laps with Russell Ingall behind him.

Then the unthinkable happened. Almost simultaneously missed the final turn and careered off the track allowing McConville and Kelly to slip past. Murphy then had engine problems allowing Bright to sneak into third.

The entire complexion of the race changed in an instant and suddenly what looked like a Greg Murphy victory turned upside down.

"I had a fair bit of luck go my way today," he said. "That was the most I've ever had at stake in the closing laps."

It is somewhat a fairytale for McConville who has gone from nowhere to a strong contender. He could not categorically state that he hadn't wondered what he was still doing in the championship.

"I hadn't really given up and never felt I was going to hang up the helmet," he said.

"In saying that I didn't expect to come in this year and be on the podium straight away. I knew we had the ingredients to do well but just had to get the result."

It was a shame for Murphy whose drive was perhaps one of the best of the year. He was included in the race at 33rd on the grid having been granted special dispensation to race despite not qualifying due to battery problems.

As if by magic and some unbelievable driving he found himself leading the race through some great pit lane strategy and only fell at the last hurdle to finish fifth.

Ambrose and Skaife made critical mistakes at the same corner within minutes of each-other that undid the good work they had done in working through the field.

It was worse for Ambrose who was effectively second to Jason Bright when he ran straight off the track at the last corner. He had no choice but to head for pit lane and take the slow drive through which sent him back to 28th in the field.

Ambrose stewed in his bogged car for what seemed an eternity until deciding to get out and let down the tires to try again. He managed to get the car moving and back on the track. All while the race was still going on around him.

Skaife was in the same boat when he was punted off the track by John Bowe but unlike Ambrose his car had to be towed out of the mud after he too spent an extended period sitting in the car, unable to get out while the race was still going on.

Bowe was given a drive through penalty for breaching the rules.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Cameron McConville , Rick Kelly , John Bowe